We have been so lucky to enjoy two trips this last month! You know about our first trip if you read my posts on Doris Day’s birthday and our favorite things to do in Carmel and Monterey.
Last Saturday, Andrew and I enjoyed a fun day in Los Angeles!
Our trip was built around going to see Doris and Me, but my parents, who were kind enough to watch Mary Jeanne for us, insisted that we make a day of it. They didn’t need to offer twice!
We did a few things around town before going to dinner. And yes, one of those things was a trip to Laduree, which you already know I absolutely love! I can’t go to LA these days without making a stop, even a quick one, at the place that transports me back to Paris! Hopefully an actual trip to Paris is in our family’s near future. (MJ wants to see the Eiffel Tower soooo bad! She has been fascinated by the Eiffel Tower—and able to recognize it on sight—since before she turned two years old!) Until then, trips to Laduree will more than suffice.
It is so easy to get overwhelmed with all of the amazing restaurant options in Los Angeles! Just doing a Google search for “best places to eat in LA” is truly NOT very helpful. Or at least that is how I feel from our experience—such a broad search will not narrow your options down!
I strongly recommend choosing a type of food you are in the mood for or interested in trying: Italian, French, Greek, Chinese, Mexican, etc., and searching from there. Even if your search begins with something broad like “Middle Eastern food in LA,” you will be surprised at how quickly you can find inspiration and narrow the search down to a specific country’s cuisine from there.
That is how we came across Open Sesame, the Lebanese restaurant we found after searching for “Best Mediterranean Restaurants in LA.”
WOW. Open Sesame is spectacular! There are a few locations, and we went to the one on Beverly Blvd. The restaurant was so beautifully decorated, with many design elements incorporated from Lebanese culture. We knew we had chosen a great place to eat from the moment we walked in the door.
Before the main course, we enjoyed the Lebanese fried potatoes with garlic sauce. Everything we had at Open Sesame was amazing, but I think the potatoes were my favorite thing we tried. They were truly spectacular. And the garlic sauce! I LOVED it. So so good, I have never had anything like it. Be on the look out in the coming weeks for my take on Lebanese fried potatoes and garlic sauce. I am so excited to try to recreate them at home with my own twist!
We shared the Vegetarian Platter and a Za’atar pizza for our main course. The herbs in the tabbouleh were fresh and in perfect ratio, and the falafel was made from both chickpeas and fava beans. It was a really neat, unique combination. At least for me, I have never tried falafel made with both beans, and we really enjoyed it.
And can I just say I love za’atar? What a wonderful spice blend! This was definitely the best za’atar pizza I have ever tried. I loved the addition of the fresh mint garnish.
I was completely intrigued by Open Sesame’s dessert menu. The Lebanese cheesecake sounded delicious, and I am sure we will get it next time we go, because we are definitely going back!
But, we passed a pink bakery on our way to the restaurant…so was there really any question where we were going for dessert?
Cake Monkey is the cutest little pink bakery, just a few minutes walk from Open Sesame on Beverly Blvd. If you go to Open Sesame for a meal, I strongly STRONGLY recommend you get dessert or something to go at Cake Monkey afterwards. We did both!
It was so hard not to buy one of everything we saw at Cake Monkey! Everything was so cute and looked delicious! We narrowed it down, and ended up getting a cherry hand pie that had a cute little drizzle of pink frosting and sprinkles (am I the only one who thinks sprinkles make everything better?!!), a sticky toffee blondie, and an individual caramel pecan cake with butter cream frosting, I can’t choose a favorite, everything was so good!
To take home for Mimi, we got a pink frosted mini birthday cake, which was packaged in the most brilliant way: wrapped up in pink foil like a homemade ding-dong! Oh my gosh, it was so so cute! And at Cake Monkey, they have several cake flavors that they package this way, each with a foil wrapper that matches the cake flavor within.
Many of these little homemade ding-dong cakes are gluten free and vegan, and all of them are free of preservatives, unlike the ding dongs we grew up with! And you would never ever EVER guess these little cakes were vegan and gluten free. MJ kindly shared some of hers with me—or rather I stole a few bites because I couldn’t resist—and it was so decadent!
Don’t miss Cake Monkey next time you are in Los Angeles. The baked goods are simply phenominal, and I am pretty sure the owner of the shop was the one assisting us with our selections. She was so sweet, cute, and obviously passionate about her bakery. Take the opportunity to support an amazing local business, and give your sweet tooth the best fix it could possibly ask for!
And then came the crown jewel of our LA day trip: seeing our superbly talented friend, Scott Dreier, in his fabulous show, Doris and Me.
Andrew and I laughed, cried, and were in complete awe over Scottie’s amazing vocal abilities as he sang songs from Doris’ career. He shared interesting facts and anecdotes from her life, and beautifully interwove significant events from his own life and how he has been influenced by Ms Day. The show is truly the sweetest love letter and thank you note to Doris, expertly performed and put together by a talented entertainer who does the material justice. You can purchase Scottie’s album here, and don’t forget to check his website for show dates and times near you!
So that was our wonderful day in LA! I hope we can go back soon. (I need more cake!)
Have any of you been to Open Sesame or Cake Monkey? Have you seen Doris and Me? I would love to know your thoughts!